Thursday, March 22, 2012

College Debt, Still Soaring

We are going to have some of the best edumutated dead people on the face of the planet -
The student loan market has expanded like a financial virus in the last decade. Even during the financial meltdown where credit was being restricted across all sectors of the economy, student debt kept on growing at a feverish pitch. It would be one thing if the quality of education had increased or wages were going up for college graduates but the opposite occurred. The quality of education especially at many of the for-profits is suspect at best and borders on thievery. This is where a massive expansion has occurred thanks to the financialization of our entire economy. Student debt has grown from $97 billion in 1997 to a stunning $870 billion according to conservative Fed reports to inching closer to $1 trillion this year by other measures. Higher education is definitely in a bubble and younger Americans are dealing with the brunt of this new predatory financial epidemic.
The Real Effect
"Education is our future!" is one of the misused, wrong and idiotic thought processes I have ever heard. Perpetrated primarily by overcompensated teachers and paranoid mothers, these individuals attack people verbally at local budget meetings in order to 'save the children'. Yet if one peruses the haggard laboratories that are regarded as schools, just see yesterday's article for an example, and factor in the high failure rate you are hard pressed to come up with a justification to allow these monstrosities to continue to exist. Most attempts to bring some sort of accountability to the table are largely rebuffed as being ignorant and fatalistic by the myopic self-important parasites.

Upon closer scrutiny, it turns out that this edifice of importance has grown to monstrous proportions due to several reasons:
  1. Denial. Like most bubbles before it, most purchasers of these financialized products are now engaging in mental gymnastics in order to justify their own foolish decisions. Their arguments are often a form of bait-and-switch in which the arguer either deals with the conditions of a bygone era like 100 years ago or  substitutes a program like nuclear physics for an advanced degree in dog grooming. The truth of the matter is that all markets tend to change and this market is no exception.
  2. Conflict of interest. Like a used car salesman's 'You need this car!' pitch, there is significant amounts of tax money in play here. (Why do you think your property taxes are so high?) These individuals are heavily invested in making sure things swing their way. However the very justification given for government is to ensure that no one party can steal another person's future. 
  3. Bad math. Hard to believe isn't it? But much like our current Federal budget, these yahoos really believe that 70% of your budget can go to education. Food? Secondary. Housing? Get a real job so you can afford one! Literally the argument goes something like this - 'We want a 10% increase, but we're only getting 5%, so we took a 5% CUT.' ...crickets....
  4. Bad arguments. The aforementioned bad math gives way to the inevitable argument of the next budget cycle...'We took a 5% cut last year, so we demand a 20% increase to make up for it this year!' Uh yeah, not going to happen. And yes, you guessed it, this equals a 15% cut in their eyes. Sigh...
The long and short of this inevitably becomes that just like housing before it, prices go through the roof. And just like housing, it too shall pop in time. And then we can behold the shrill cries of the teachers as they beg the broken, destitute government to prop up their shattered delusions of grandeur.

Is this how we should treat our children?

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